The Best Exercises To Increase Your Pitching Velocity
Over the last decade, the average pitching velocity in major and minor leagues has increased significantly, and that trend is expected to continue. The baseball industry has figured out that you can teach speed and that reaching elite velocity is not a God-given gift.
How can you increase your velocity?
There are several ways to rack up some extra MPH's, but the basic things you should focus on are: improving your mobility, flexibility, technique, and increasing your lean muscle mass. Strength training is the best way to develop these traits. When we lift weights, our muscles get stronger so they can produce more force. Research has shown a strong correlation between muscular strength, body mass, and throwing velocity. To get you started, I have listed a couple of exercises that could help improve your velocity.
Upper body strength
Many pitchers underestimate the power of the Push-Up. Don'tDon't let this exercise fool you. Push-Ups are perfect for pitchers because the shoulder blades can move freely, similar to throwing a ball. Many variations can make Push-Ups more challenging, like Plyo Push-Ups or Push-Ups with resistance from a weighted vest, resistance band, or chains. Performing them on straps or gymnastic rings will also dial up the intensity and challenge your shoulder stability.
Because the bent-over row stabilizes the midline through the lift, it does not add excessive strain to the shoulders. The bent-over row improves strength in the upper and lower back, glutes, hamstrings, lats, and shoulders, making it an excellent exercise for pitchers.
The reverse fly targets the posterior deltoids (rear shoulders) and major upper back muscles (rhomboids and trapezius). Strengthening these muscles helps improve poor posture and improves balance.
Rowing exercises produce great movement of the core and rib cage while simultaneously strengthening the upper back. In addition, rowing movements can also help protect the rotator cuff while building strength around it, helping prevent future injury.
Throwing motion with resistance
This exercise helps improve blood flow to the muscles of the shoulder, back, and chest. Warming up those muscles properly can decrease the incidence of injury while also helping you focus on your technique.
Weighted jump rope
A study done in 2011 found that only 3 minutes using a 1 lb. weighted jumping rope for 12 weeks can increase rotator cuff external rotation strength by 55%. Increasing the rotator cuff external rotation is important for pitchers because external rotation strength has been proved essential to decreasing arm injury risk.
Plank and Side-Plank
There are multiple benefits attached to doing planks and side planks. This exercise strengthens three muscle groups at once (shoulders, hips, and core) without stressing your back, improves your balance, and reduces the risk of back injury.
Lower body strength
The first thing that comes to mind when you think of increasing your velocity is upper body strength. However, several studies have found that pitchers generate most of their power from their lower body, using the hips, glutes, quads, and hamstrings to transfer force from the ground through the torso and the arm. So, if you want to increase your velocity, you will need to work hard on your hips, glutes, legs, and hamstrings. Below are a few exercises that focus on those muscles:
Front squats carry less risk of irritating the shoulder, they are easier on your back and knees than back squats, and they are just as effective in terms of overall muscle recruitment. In addition, because this exercise requires flexibility in all major joints, it encourages you to train flexibility.
The reverse lunge offers a lot of benefits such as improved hip stability, increased core strength, and stability, as well as glute activation, working out all of the lower body muscles needed to strengthen the power of your throw.
The Farmer's Walk
This exercise provides a full-body workout, targeting the quads, hamstrings, calves, glutes, erectors, upper back, traps, lats, abs, biceps, triceps, forearms, and hand muscles. Because of how all-encompassing this exercise is, it can significantly increase muscle strength and power.
Note: to avoid injury, consult with a physical trainer before jumping into any of these exercises.
To maximize your workout results and help prevent muscle stiffness and soreness, include stretching as an essential part of your workout. Mobility and flexibility have an immense impact on velocity. The more freely you can open up your body, the more range you can get in your pitching motion. Yoga and pilates are proven to help flexibility, but you don't necessarily have to start attending classes. A few simple stretches every day can have a massive impact on your mobility.
Increasing your velocity takes time and dedication, but you'll be surprised at how much speed you can add to your fastball by being consistent and working hard. If you are looking for a training model specifically built to increase your velocity, consistency, and mobility, check out this custom 3-month throwing program.
We hope you enjoyed this blog and that it helped you get some clarity on the essentials for increasing your velocity. If you would like to read more tips, information, and advice about baseball, check out the rest of our blogs.